Buy Or Sell: Steelers Will Not Draft Any Skill Position Players In 2023 NFL Draft

With the Steelers’ 2023 offseason underway following a disappointing season that came up just short of reaching the playoffs, it’s time to begin reloading, through the free agency process, through the draft, and perhaps even through trade.

This is now a young team on the offensive side of the ball, though one getting older on defense. Both sides could stand to be supplemented robustly, including in the trenches—either one. Changes have been made to the coaching staff, even if not all of the desired ones, as the roster continues to renew with the weeks ticking by.

These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).

Topic Statement: The Steelers will not draft a skill position player during the 2023 NFL Draft.

Explanation: Having addressed most of the holes on their roster through free agency and trade, the Steelers go into the 2023 NFL Draft without any glaring immediate needs. Given the current makeup, it is unclear whether or not the value will be there to take a skill position player at any point in the draft. For the purposes of this exercise, I’m defining the skill positions as running back, wide receiver, and tight end.


Following the trade for Allen Robinson, with Calvin Austin III set to make his NFL debut in 2023, there is no need to draft a wide receiver. Likewise, Zach Gentry’s return delays any need at tight end. There is an opening at running back, but that can easily be filled through a variety of means, including undrafted free agency, where they found Jaylen Warren a year ago.

It’s more likely that the Steelers draft multiple offensive linemen—surely a tackle, maybe even two, or a center—than it is that they use a spot on these positions. Quarterback is also a possibility once we get into day three, but otherwise, this is a defensive draft with the possibility of multiple defensive backs, linebackers, or defensive linemen all legitimate options.


As Gerry Dulac, rightly, has repeatedly reminded this offseason, the Steelers always find it hard to pass up a highly rated skill player, even when it seems they don’t need it. And none of the skill positions are so deep that they can’t find a worthy player to bring in, even as we get into day three.

Right now, the wide receiver room is essentially four deep, for example, and they could carry up to six. They have two running backs, with Anthony McFarland Jr. as an option. They have three “tight ends”, technically, but no fullback with Derek Watt gone. There’s an extra spot available, for now, that wasn’t there last year.

When you actually work out a preliminary 53-man roster, then this is either going to be a defensive-heavy year or they still need to add guys. Let’s assume nine linemen and three quarterbacks for 12 players. You have four receivers, two backs, and three tight ends right now for another nine, that gets you up to 21. Who are the rest? McFarland? Benny Snell Jr.? Gunner Olszewski? Miles Boykin? Is this good enough? No. It wasn’t good enough last year and it certainly isn’t this year.

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